Modelling Vibrated Stone Colums in Soft Clay

Vinayagamoothy Sivakumar, D McKelvey, A. Bell, J. Graham

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    126 Citations (Scopus)


    The vibrated stone column technique is an economical and environmentally friendly process that treats weak ground to enable it to withstand low to moderate loading conditions. The performance of the treated ground depends on various parameters such as the strengths of the in-situ and backfill materials, and the spacing, length and diameter of the columns. In practice, vibrated stone columns are frequently used for settlement control. Studies have shown that columns can fail by bulging, bending, punching or shearing. These failure mechanisms are examined in this paper. The study involved a series of laboratory model tests on a consolidated clay bed. The tests were carried out using two different materials: (a) transparent material with ‘clay like’ properties, and (b) speswhite kaolin. The tests on the transparent material have, probably for the first time, permitted visual examination of deforming granular columns during loading. They have shown that bulging was significant in long columns, whereas punching was prominent in shorter columns. The presence of the columns also greatly improved the load-carrying capacity of the soft clay bed. However, columns longer than about six times their diameter did not lead to further increases in the load-carrying capacity. This suggests that there is an optimum column length for a given arrangement of stone columns beneath a rigid footing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)137-149
    Number of pages13
    JournalProceedings of the ICE - Geotechnical Engineering
    Volume157 (3)
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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